Investigating The Decision To Junk State Property
These pictures were sent to Eyewitness News, accompanied by an anonymous letter which expressed concern about state workers throwing away, quote...."perfectly good filing cabinets, instead of sending them to the surplus warehouse in Dunbar."
We agreed that it was a valid question, so we tracked down the agency the cabinets belonged to. They were placed in the scrap metal dumpster by the Department of Education.
Can you go through the process how you guys decided to go that route and dispose of that property?
"Sure, when we have assets that we are no longer using or want to get rid of we follow the surplus process," Kristin Anderson, the Communications Director with the West Virginia Department of Education said. "And if assets are considered non-usable, so in that case filing cabinets, so if they're rusted or if they're drawers don't work or pull out, surplus considers that non-usable."
The State Surplus Warehouse in Dunbar is where items ranging from vehicles to chairs go when they've outlived their usefulness. The facility already has a healthy number of filing cabinets, but the manager says the items from the Department of Education did not meet quality standards.
"Once we determine that they're in poor condition we don't want to bring them down here to sell them to customers," Elizabeth Perdue, West Virginia State Property Surplus Manager said. "We don't want to sell something to customers that aren't in good working order."
Perdue says the filing cabinets were not thrown away. Instead, they were sold for scrap, with the state receiving $326.20 from RJ Recyling.
"If there was something, lets say like a chair that was still in decent shape, we would let surplus know," Anderson said. "And like I said if it is usable it will go to the surplus warehouse."
So while they may look in these pictures like serviceable, workable items, in reality they were not?
"Exactly," Perdue said. "Especially with file cabinets. After a few years they're not going to open good, they're not going to close good. They may lose keys, things of that nature, and they rust."